Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang: Sing it Loud

kd lang's new album is a work of back-to-basics country folk.

Sing it Loud
Nonesuch
**** 

However you want to measure a musician's success, k.d. lang's 25-year career comes out of it pretty well. Whether it's Grammys won (four) and nominated for (11), landmark live performances (most recently presenting her famous rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah live at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada), legends recorded with (Tony Bennett, Elton John, Roy Orbison), songwriting credits (including the Rolling Stones, no less) or music-industry credentials (she comes fully Nashville-approved), lang has continued to be a genuine singer's singer.

Now, with her first named band in two decades, the Siss Boom Bang, Lang has ditched the impassioned balladry for which she was becoming known in favour of back-to-basics country folk. The album's opener, I Confess, sees her singing Roy Orbison-like "life with you only brought me heartache/I've had all the lonely I can take". Lang's fittingly melodramatic drawl floats over crashing bolero drums and gorgeous guitar picking.

The Water's Edge has a classic soul groove and a perfectly understated chorus, while the old-timey Sugar Buzz is underlaid with distorted guitars and cool organ bursts. Even the country-pop of Sorrowful Nevermore sounds surprisingly vital.

These more upbeat numbers work better than their slow-tempo companions, more than one of which is eerily reminiscent of the theme from Twin Peaks. Tucked away towards the end of the record is an exception, however: lang's ultra-smooth take on the Talking Heads' Heaven seems to give the song's pensive lyrics new meaning.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National